Many have often condemned Barak as a coward who hides behind a woman’s skirt (so to speak). What if there is something else at play?
If you read the Book of Joshua and 1 & 2 Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant was part of the army’s formation. It went out into battle with the people. It was a symbol for the people of Israel that God was with them.
However, in the time of the Book of Judges, a lot was lost (and so very quickly, too). Perhaps, as a matter of morale and tactics, Barak wanted Deborah there as the symbol. Barak could have been doubtful of his military success, so wanted backup (God).
Regardless, it is Barak’s lack of a response to Deborah’s “penalty” that is our focus. Basically, Deborah told Barak that he would not get the glory of dealing with Sisera (the enemy leader) and that it would be given to a woman (a dig in a patriarchal society).
Whether it was acceptance or tolerance, Barak’s lack of response shows a greater concern for the success of the battle, rather than the resulting glory. Some call it cowardice. Some call it degrading. Some call it humility.
Humility does not just take one form. Whether you believe the Barak was weak, scared, or lacking faith, how many people hide those exact things behind a façade of bravado? Not hiding it, is often a sign of humility.
Sometimes humility is what you are willing to do and be in public. David’s dancing in public to display joy in front of the people must have been something to watch. Was it because of how he was dressed? Was it because he didn’t act refined?
His goal wasn’t the eyes of humanity, it was the eyes and heart of God. Yet, his first wife either tried to shame him or was ashamed of him.
David would not accept that. He understood that whatever her issues were, they were nothing in comparison to bringing glory to God.
It is interesting to realize that David didn’t say, “that wasn’t embarrassing!” He said that his personal honor and pride are not important when compared to the glory of God.
Two different men, with two different forms of humility. These are not the only forms of humility. It can play out in many ways in our lives. One person’s humility may seem like nothing to another. This is why true humility is between a person and God.
Humility is something we should all seek. As the person we call Lord and Savior was humble enough to touch the outcast, broken, dirty, and then die for all, humility is a characteristic of a disciple of Jesus.
Holy Spirit, guide our hearts and souls to greater depths of humility, even while knowing that the humility of Jesus is deeper still. Amen.
1) Who is the humblest person you know? What makes them humble?
2) Name the ways Barak and David were humble. What are other means of humility?
3) Why is humility so important to growing the Kingdom of God?